11 Real-Life Vigilante Stories Of Ordinary Citizens Taking Justice Into Their Own Hands

Published September 29, 2021

Gary Plauché: The Real-Life Vigilante Who Killed His Son’s Abuser On Live TV

Jody Plauche And Jeff Doucet

YouTubeJody Plauché (left) and his rapist Jeff Doucet.

A 25-year-old karate instructor in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Jeff Doucet had the complete trust of his young students and their parents. But that trust was horrifically shattered on February 19, 1984, when Doucet took 11-year-old Jody Plauché on what was supposed to be a 15-minute car ride.

His parents, Gary and June Plauché, were worried sick when their son didn’t return home that day — and they had good reason to be. Doucet had not only kidnapped their young son, but he was taking him all the way to the West Coast. To avoid suspicion, Doucet shaved his beard and dyed Jody’s hair before checking into a motel in Anaheim, California.

There, Doucet raped the boy multiple times until he finally allowed Jody to call his parents. The police easily traced the call and arrested Doucet, and Jody was returned to his family. Meanwhile, Jody’s father Gary Plauché drove to the airport at Baton Rouge to meet Doucet at arrivals — and kill him.

On March 16, 1984, Plauché pulled a .38 revolver from his boot as soon as he saw Doucet at the airport. He had waited at a payphone for Doucet to appear, narrating his thoughts to a friend on the other line. He even warned the friend, “Here he comes. You’re about to hear a shot.” Since the news cameras were rolling, the ensuing gunshot was caught on video.

Real Life Vigilante Gary Plauche

YouTubePlauché (left) moments before shooting Doucet (right).

After firing a hollow-point bullet into Doucet’s brain from three feet away, Plauché had killed his son’s abuser. He later stood trial for murder — but found a lenient judge on the other side of the courtroom. Sentenced to seven years on a suspended sentence, five years probation, and 300 hours of community service, Plauché was soon free to go.

As for Jody Plauché, he needed several years to process all the trauma that had happened to him early on. “After the shooting happened, I was very upset with what my father did,” Jody said. “I did not want Jeff killed. I felt like he was going to go to jail, and that was enough for me.”

He continued, “But my parents, they didn’t force me into recovery. They kind of let me recover at my own pace, and it took a while… but I was able to work through it and eventually accept my dad back in my life.” Jody eventually turned his experience into a book titled Why, Gary, Why?.

To this day, many residents of Baton Rouge remain adamant that Gary Plauché did what any father would want to do in that particular situation.

Marco Margaritoff
A former staff writer for All That’s Interesting, Marco Margaritoff holds dual Bachelor's degrees from Pace University and a Master's in journalism from New York University. He has published work at People, VICE, Complex, and serves as a staff reporter at HuffPost.